Governor Bill Lee continued his tour of the state’s counties in celebration of 225 years of statehood.
Lee spent part of Wednesday visiting with workers of the state’s Department of Human Services and Children Services in downtown Celina.
“I wanted to touch base with our folks in our department that work for the state just to talk about how we can better serve our customers which are really the residents of this community, and I how I can support them,” Lee said.
Local residents expressed concern about what seems to be a declining economy in Clay County and how that impacts the department’s work. Lee said answering that issue can be a challenge, but in-person visits help create strategies of improvement.
“Rural Tennessee matters,” Lee said. “It is very important to me. It’s why from Executive Order #1 until today we have put a focus there. But, you have to get out in the rural counties. You got to interact with the people to really be reminded, get out of the capitol and come out here to be reminded what life is like out here. Both the wonderful parts of it and the unique lifestyle that exists in rural communities, but also the difficult parts of it.”
The closure of the Cumberland River Hospital was also a concern from the community. Lee said he has recently formed a rural task force that could help situations like the one Celina faces.
“We go back and talk about how do we improve,” Lee said. “For example, today we talked about the access to healthcare, and we have created a rural task force to address some of those issues, but to go back and actually report from here in this community, here’s the situation in this community that we really need to look at when we develop a strategy.”
Lee was at the Lake Avenue office for about an hour Wednesday. Lee said the conversations strengthen his efforts to serve every Tennessean.